Family: Zingiberaceae
Botanical name: Alpinia Calcarata Rox
Sanskrit: Rasna, Sugandhamoola, Kulanjana
English: The greater galangal, lesser Galangal, Java galangal
Hindi: Kulanjan
Malayalam: Chittaratha, Aratta
Native to India, leaves dull dark green, lighter undersides. White with yellow and red variegated fragrant flowers resembling snapdragons. Alpinia calcarata is a very easy and vigorous species to grow. It has very narrow foliage and stems and is a prolific plant. Its narrow habit is not nearly as attractive as many of the better foliage Alpinia. It will not bloom in Zone 8 despite its hardiness. The medium size white and red flowers are attractive and appear on upright inflorescences. It grows well in medium sun in well drained rich soil. Alpinia carcarata has nice reedy foliage but there is not much else going for it. If you live in a frost free area you will get some pretty flowers, but like other Alpinias, this will only bloom on second year growth.
The greater galangal, also called Alpinia galangal, has been used for thousands of years in traditional eastern medicine. Galangal looks a lot like ginger and shares some of its healing properties. It warms the body, helps digestion, and works as an effective anti-nausea remedy. Galangal is used as a fragrant spice in East Asian cooking. Hundreds of years after the Chinese, Europeans discovered that galangal could help cure seasickness. The famed German theologian St. Hildegard, an expert in herbal medicine dubbed it the, "Spice of life" using it as a remedy for many of the diseases that ravaged Europe at the time.
Galangal is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine to aid digestion and help with abdominal discomfort. It fights nausea, prevents or stops vomiting, and effectively treats diarrhea. Indian Medicine recognized Galangal for its anti-inflammatory properties and used it to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps break up mucus and create more productive coughs in patients. More recently, Western researchers have discovered that galangal can help kill cancer cells and prevent cells from becoming malignant. At Solstice Medicine Company we combine ancient healing wisdom with effective, modern herbal remedies.
The rhizome of Chittaratha is used to hiccup, cough, metabolic disorder, asthma and joint pain.
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